In August, 2008, we moved into our house on a 1/10 acre lot, and I began gardening with a single sheet-mulched plot in the front yard. I took a baseline set of soil tests from the front and back yards in January, 2009 and began a regimen of no-till, no-spray (i.e. no chemical amendments), no-manure gardening, using only plant-based mulch to maintain soil fertility while harvesting as many as 75 crops for market each growing season. The soil tests were done by our local university extension agency.
Gardening with Oklahoma Native Plants: Steve Owens, Bustani Plant Farm
Soil preparation is not as important for native plants: they like the soil the way it is! Some even like to be stressed. Try growing them in cracks between landscape elements.
Wildflower meadow gardens are great for pollinator habitat, but study your site first. Consider microclimate and choose plants accordingly. Contrasting white flowers can help break up the uniformity of a meadow garden.
Here are the slides for the presentation I'm giving this afternoon at the Oklahoma Native Plant Society's Indoor Outing:
Notes from a talk at Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, January 29, 2016.
[Revised 1/9/16 to add November and December income]
When people ask about our tenth of an acre, I frequently say, "We call it an urban farm, but it's more of a market garden." That's because for the last six years (2009-2015), we've brought essentially all of our produce to the farmers' market. What doesn't sell, we eat ourselves or preserve. We're going to try a different strategy in 2016, for a number of reasons, and I feel we owe our customers an explanation.
August 25-26, 2015, Emporia, Kansas
Watch a demonstration of a model of this system on YouTube!
When people here in Emporia learn that I'm into ecological gardening, they often ask me to install rain barrels for them. I'm resistent to doing this for a number of reasons, all of which have to do with limitations in how rain barrels are usually built and connected. I think I've finally cracked the problem, so here's my modest proposal for how to do it right. But first...